Information technology adoption and literacy are typically not first-order goals for community-based volunteer organizations. Nonetheless, information technology is vital to such groups for member recruiting and management, communication and visibility to the community, as well as primary group activities. However, volunteer organizations are often not able to make effective use of Internet-based technologies and content. They lack resources of all sorts (money, skills, telecommunications infrastructure) as well as organizational structures, protocols, and continuity to effectively cope with the rate of change in Internet technology. We describe a design pattern, a standard solution schema for a recurring problem, that proposes a self-sustained process in which volunteer organizations identify and analyze their technology needs, and then learn about information technology through active engagement in solving their own problems. The pattern, called Community-based Learning, is grounded in our fieldwork experience in several community computing projects. We discuss patterns and pattern frameworks as a research approach to community computing.